Around 60% of couples live together before they get married nowadays, and those that don’t may well have had their own flat or house before moving into the marital home – either way, each partner is going to be fairly well-equipped on the domestic front. Seeing as wedding gifts were traditionally meant to help couples kit out their home, what can you ask for instead?

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Some couples ask for money towards the honeymoon or a contribution towards a house deposit, but not everybody will feel comfortable doing this. We asked wedding planner Liz Reed of Elizabeth Jane Events for her advice. She’s seen a lot of couples plan their big days and has been involved with a lot of gift lists, so if anybody knows about wedding gift ideas, it’s her! Here are Liz’s suggestions…

Making memories

“Think about asking for a special experience you’ll remember. You could ask for a trip in a hot air balloon for the two of you, or maybe a voucher to dine in an exclusive restaurant so you can treat yourselves,” says Liz.

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We think this is a great idea – you and your new husband might be trying to save a bit of money after the expense of the wedding, so a delicious meal out would be something to enjoy in a few months’ time.

Come dine with me

“How about a cookery experience for the two of you?” suggests Liz. “Brush up on your culinary skills so you can create a dinner party together.”

At Wedding Ideas, we think that cooking together is an activity that can really bring couples closer – plus, you can both decide what your specialties are and treat each other!

The great outdoors

“Whilst you may not need anything for the inside of your home, what about the exterior? How about contributions towards getting the garden professionally landscaped or a garden water feature? These are gifts that will last the test of time – in fact, they’ll get better as time goes on.”

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Getting personal

“Personalisation is often a way ahead for the couple who really honestly have everything. How about a piece of personalised artwork – a watercolour of the exterior of your home? Or your dog?”

Art attack

“Many art galleries will take contributions towards a piece – so if you don’t want a painting, how about a piece of sculpture for your home? Think of the fun you’ll have browsing for a piece you like. Guests don’t mind clubbing together to buy you something really special you want, whereas they may not want to contribute towards a honeymoon or holiday,” says Liz.

If this sounds like something you’d like, we recommend you take a look at The Affordable Art Fair. There are shows a couple of times a year in London and Bristol, and prices start at £40.

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Giving back

“If you’ve decided that you really do have quite enough belongings but still want to do something meaningful, then why not ask all your guests to donate to a charity of your choice that has special meaning for the pair of you? Your home won’t end up filled with unwanted clutter and you’ll get a warm feeling from knowing that you have helped those who really need it,” says Liz.

We agree – plus, it’s really easy to set up a page on Just Giving for a charity or charities of your choice.

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Life’s little luxuries

“My final suggestion is to get something that will grow old with the pair of you, like vintage wine,” says Liz. “Of course, you could always drink it or you could set it aside to mark special occasions. Other ideas are a selection of luxury cigars for a man or an indulgent hamper for a woman filled with pampering treats.”

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Get it in writing

Other ideas we think might work well are personalised stationery – it’ll come in handy for writing the wedding thank-you letters for a start! Ask for your new names and address at the top of the letterhead, and maybe get some notecards done at the same time. Letterpress has a selection of formal stationery that any bride and groom would be delighted to receive.

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Another idea is to ask for a photo session with a photographer for a year after your wedding day. On the day itself you’ll have masses of photographs taken and you may have had an engagement shoot too – but having some shots for your first wedding anniversary is a lovely idea.

For more Wedding Gift List ideas, take a look here – or chat with other brides on the Wedding Ideas Forum for more inspiration!

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